Travelling with kids (part 2). Car journeys.

Just after our daughter’s first birthday we made a pretty upsetting discovery. Well in actual fact, it was my Dad who noticed it. Fraboo, suffers from travel sickness, especially in cars it seems.

Let me set the scene. You may recall that we had travelled back to the UK to spend the summer with our families. They were all really pleased to see us and lavished attention upon us and our little girl. One afternoon, my Dad and Step-mum asked if they could look after her, so that Mrs L. and I could spend a bit of time alone. I think that they had romantic plans in mind for us, and so did we. We picked up where we left off before the arrival of the baby and went on a date. To the nearby shopping mall.

We’d arranged to meet my Dad three hours later and he would then give us a lift back to his house, and we had a lovely time at the shops, but sadly it had to come to an end, and so we waited for Dad in the designated spot. As he pulled into the parking space, I knew something was wrong. My Dad has a famously poor sense of smell (we drove from the South of France to England with one of the worst smelling cheeses known to humanity in the back of the car, and whilst my Mum, brother and I were slowly asphyxiating, he was happily oblivious), but I could see by wrinkle in his nose, that something was smelling pretty fetid in his nearly new car. I opened the back door to greet my daughter, and was met with a view of unimaginable carnage. I haven’t seen quite such generous distribution of vomit, since the aftermath of the Sixth-form Christmas dance of 1993, where I made the dubious acquaintance of Mr Alcohol for the first time! I asked Dad what happened and he told me that all was well and as he drew into the mall car park, she did the opening rendition of “Fraboo and her Amazing Technicolour yawn”!

It was a little bit like the time our dog bit the postman. “Well, she’s never done that before!” Mrs L. and I repeated in embarrassed tones. And she hadn’t, despite the fact that she’d had ample opportunity to do so; being ferried around by me, the world’s most mediocre driver. She didn’t seem at all unwell. In fact, she seemed to be completely unfazed by the devastation which surrounded her. We put it down to the ice cream that Nana and Dan-Dan had bought for her, and she had probably polished off in seconds flat. We apologised profusely (as English folk do for something which isn’t really their fault), and went to get Fraboo cleaned up. Meanwhile my poor Dad, was left to clean up the car amidst much dry heaving.

We didn’t really think much of it, and just put it down to “one of those things which kids do”, and as a result weren’t at all concerned when we hired a car later on in the week. We had intended to travel around a fair bit whilst we had it, and our first destination was about five hours away. Having squeezed as much luggage into the boot as possible, we set off, gaily waving cheerio to my in-laws with whom we were staying. I think that we had almost made it to the motorway, a mere ten miles away, when our little girl, announced that she wasn’t feeling very well,  and within seconds, had ejected her breakfast all over herself and the back of the passenger seat in front of her.

It was at this point we began to suspect that Fraboo may suffer from car sickness and over the course of the following week, she presented us with irrefutable evidence to support this diagnosis. Curiously, she did not complain of feeling unwell, until moments before she was sick, at which point we were usually powerless to take any sort of evasive action, and when the deed was done, she was back to her usual chatty self.

We now travel with two spare sets of clothes, and a couple of empty ice cream cartons in the back of the car, (and a couple of customised clothes pegs, which fit snugly over our noses, in the glove box).

As a result, if we are ever planning on driving any great distance, we will always travel at night, when hopefully Fraboo is asleep.  This is all well and good, except that Boy-Boy will not sleep when we are in the car.

It seems that help is at hand though. After a particularly unpleasant journey, on the way home from a party, where copious quantities of pink icing and other confectionary had been consumed, and then deposited onto a favourite party dress, my sister suggested that we invest in some of those travel sickness wrist bands. As Mrs L. had temporarily taken her delicate fingers off of the purse strings, I decided to splash out, and have to say that so far we have been really impressed. We have made some quite mammoth journeys without any dramas to speak of, and are quietly confident that this may well be the solution to woes.

Neither Mrs L. or I are brave enough though, to dispose of the ice cream cartons just yet.


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